I'm going to repeated what I said on another thread.
The use of Han as an ethnic term dates to the Age of Fragmentation when Han people adopted the term to define themselves as seperate from the Wu Hu, including the Xianbei. The Xianbei referred to Han people as Han, and it was also used during the Song and Liao dynasties to differentiate Han people from Khitan, and the Jin dynasty to differentiate Han from Jurchen. The Xianbei even forged a geneaology back to Huangdi because they could not forge a genealogy to a Han dynasty era person and claim themselves to be Han, while they were assimilating.
Han as an ethnic term is NOT a Qing invention. It is over 1,500 years old.
Is Han even an Ethnic Group?
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